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Monday, July 29, 2013

A wish for every staff member of every school: to get it and get at it!

With major jetlag, I sit here bleary eyed on the couch considering the fact that in 7 days I'll be back at school. The summer will be done and it will start again - the 12th year of teaching for me.

Are you waiting for someone to fix it?

As I look at tweets, I see someone looking at the statistics on poverty saying, "The government isn't doing enough" and another person wanting someone to "fix education" and yet another bemoaning the fact that they don't have enough technology.

Here's the thing. If you externalize the problems of the world and expect someone to come in miraculously and "fix" this or "do" that, you'll be waiting forever.

You've got the classic superman complex. You're waiting for some super hero sized person or government to come in and fix the things that need fixing. You'll be waiting until your hair turns grey and your skin blows off your bones, my friends. Fixit doesn't happen.

You've got problems too. You don't have enough time to do this or do that. You might be overweight, like me. You might wish you had one more planning period or one less student in that tough to manage third period class. Good luck getting any of those things to change. Fixit doesn't happen.

Do you get-it?

Let me tell you what does happen. Get-it happens. When start getting on my exercise equipment 45 minutes a day. When I get-it and attack my weight by eating healthy and working out then I'll get change. Wishing doesn't make things happen. Blaming just makes us bitter. When we get it and get it at - then, we see real change.

When I get the fact that nonprofit organizations with far less money often do far more than the government to help combat poverty and join in supporting such organizations. When I get the fact that some employers are in fact owned by good people who also help combat poverty by taking steps to hire people who can't get jobs in other places and I support those organizations - then we can get at it. When we get-it that student "tech angels" and other organizations that give kids practical skills help them get summer employment now - we start looking for teachable, practical activities to interject into our schools.

When I get-it that a child receiving a good education will do more to help that child stay out of poverty as an adult, and start doing everything I can to help that child - then we can get at it.

The Easy Way: It is not my problem - you fix it

You see, there are some educators taking the easy way out - the easiest ways to improve their test scores is for the lowest of the low to drop out. So, they sit back and let it happen and expect someone else to fix-it.

The Hard Way: I get it - it is my job to do what I can to combat tough problems.

But there are some educators who are frantically committed to the fact that they want to reach every child.

They look problems in the face and yell into the storm: NOT ON MY WATCH! I've got these kids under my care and I'll get at it until I retire and even then, I'll spur other educators on to get at it. The only way to fail is to quit.

They want no child to drop out. They will do what it takes to be relevant and reach every child -- they get it and want to do what it takes to get-it. They get at it every day and don't quit. It is hard and they are heroes. They work in all types of schools because every school has tough problems. Those problems might hide behind crisp uniforms and clean faces - but they are there just under the surface. If you teach, you know it too.

Meet the Front Lines

Educators are on the front line of just about every societal problem out there. When we get-it - when we realize just how important our job is, then we can get at these problems in our world.

When the world out there finally gets it that we have to all be part of the solution. Teachers can't fix it, sometimes parents can't fix it either. We have societal issues that do start at home but go into the movies we watch, the food we eat, the entertainment we pursue, the schools we attend. All of these things are in a mix that causes poverty, crime, gluttony, thievery, abuse, murder and more. Ah, but none of us can fix it. None of us.

All we can do is get-it.

We can get that we each have a role and part to play and get-at-it. We can do our best with what we have. We cannot do everything but we can do something.

But if we sit back and make excuses for why we're unimportant and leave it to someone else to "fixit" we will not be doing our part. We are failing because we are quitting and saying it is someone else's job.

We all have a role to play. We are all shaping the future of our world, right now. Every classroom and teacher is an important part of this. Get it! Please! Get it!

Teachers dance with the future today.

Tomorrow's debates in Congress are born today in your classrooms. The eating habits of tomorrow are being formed in our lunchrooms now. Healthy habits are born in our bathrooms and PE classes today. The entertainment of tomorrow is first acted out on the stage in our auditoriums today. The sports heroes of tomorrow are getting dressed in your locker room right now. Tomorrow's congressman may be running for secretary of the Chess Club right now.

If we want to impact the words, deeds, and actions of tomorrow - the school bell is ringing. May we all get the fact that we do have some very important work today. It may take 10 or 20 years to see the results, but some results of the future will show that many of you are faithful today. The sorry results will be seen from those educators who sat around with their feet up on their desks blaming society for the sorry state of things and wishing society would fixit without getting the fact that teachers play a very important role today.

Educators. Teachers. Para professionals. Volunteers. Principals. Janitors. Coaches. Lunchroom staff. School nurses. Security staff. Front office administrators. School secretaries. GET IT. Whether school is about to start or you're already in the midst of it. GET THIS: YOUR JOB IS IMPORTANT BECAUSE YOU WORK WITH KIDS. Kids are important. They are our future. Please "get it" that unless you handle the problems and struggles in front of you today that no one else will fix it. Don't settle. Don't relax. Don't expect someone else to handle it. If a problem is in front of you. GET IT and get at solving it. Now. This is your job and the future is only as bright as you help make it to be. This is hard work but our future needs us to get how important our job is today.

You can't do everything but you can do something. That something is usually the thing right in your face or under your nose at that moment. If more of us would get it and handle the problems right in front of us, it will be less problems for others to handle later.

What a place every school would be if each staff member really GETS the importance of their job! Every one of you are important. Every one of you matters because every single precious child in our doors matters. Each one of them is precious and needs love and attention. It will only happen if people who work in schools start realizing that we aren't just here for the pay - we are here because we get to work with the future. Our job is important because kids are important. Do you get that? Do you really get it?

I'm ready to start school. I get it - do you? If so, let's get-at-it together. The future is calling.


A special request:

How do you help the others in your school get at the importance of their jobs? What do you read? What stories do you tell? Will you please share in the comments so that others who are working to inspire staff members to "get it" will have those stories to tell too? This is important.

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